Playing With / Competence Zone

Basic Trope: Certain characters in a work are only competent if they're in a given age range.
  • Straight: Alice, Bob, Charlie, Dylan, and Erika are a Five-Man Band of twenty-somethings and are expert robot pilots. Freddie, Alice's 12-year-old cousin, and George, Bob's 52-year-old father, are both considered incompetent for whatever reason.
  • Exaggerated: The Five-Man Band are all 24 years of age. The instant they turn 25, they become incompetent - and they were considered incompetent before their 24th birthday.
  • Downplayed: The Five-Man Band ranges between late teens and middle-aged. Only small children and the extremely aged are incompetent as robot pilots.
  • Justified: The Competence Zone exists for a reason. Freddie is too young and doesn't know enough to be a skilled pilot, and George's older body is too frail to handle the strains of robot piloting.
  • Inverted: Everyone in the twenty-something age range is useless, and saving the day falls to Freddie, the Kid Hero and George, the Cool Old Guy.
  • Subverted: Henry shows up. He's outside of the zone, but he proves to be more than competent enough.
  • Double Subverted: ...For a while, anyway. He ends up needing to be rescued by the Five-Man Band.
  • Parodied: "Well, Bob, it's your 30th birthday! Time to leave the team!" "But I can still..". "No you can't! Now leave!"
  • Zig Zagged: Henry shows up. He's outside of the zone but has the skills to succeed...except the Five-Man Band has to bail him out. But he still shows up every now and then and can hold his own.
  • Averted: Everyone, regardless of age, has an equal chance of being a competent robot pilot.
  • Enforced: "We want twenty-somethings to watch this show, so let's make it to where only twenty-somethings can be heroes!"
  • Lampshaded: "You'd think you'd want some new blood! Or maybe someone with some experience!"
  • Invoked: The Headmaster of the Robot Forces realizes that twenty-somethings make the best pilots, so he decides to only accept them.
  • Exploited: Said Headmaster has those outside of the Competence Zone work for the other side, knowing they'd screw Emperor Evulz over.
  • Defied: Freddie and George get their chance to shine...and boy, do they ever.
  • Discussed: "My birthday is next week. Here comes my demotion".
  • Conversed: "Isn't it convenient that the median age of the robot pilots is the same range as the demographic for this show?"
  • Implied: The show features nobody outside of that age range and takes place in a war zone, where only individuals in the Competence Zone are likely to show up.
  • Deconstructed: Emperor Evulz is Genre Savvy enough to realize that all twenty-somethings are dangerous and wipes all of them out. Since they were the only ones who stood a chance, he's able to Take Over the World.
  • Reconstructed: However, the remaining pilot candidates remind Emperor Evulz that there's a huge gap between "very competent" and "incompetent", and show that they have the skills necessary to reclaim the world from him.

Go back and edit Competence Zone, but only if you're between the ages of 15 and 35.